The diurnal cycle of chromium excretion was estimated over the last 24 h of a 13-day period in which nine single- and nine double-suckled cows were dosed twice daily (10.00 and 16.00 h) with shredded Cr2O3 paper. All faecal passages voided were sampled and analysed for chromium. Rectal samples were also taken at 10.00 and 16.00 h during this period. Sources of variation in the patterns of excretion that could be attributed to cow live weight, daily milk yield or total weight of the calf or calves being reared were also investigated.
Mean faecal Cr concentrations followed a cyclic pattern which was significantly described by a sinusoidal equation.
The estimated fundamental period (0·1334 rad/h) did not differ significantly from the theoretical value (2π/48 = 0·1309 rad/h). Fitting the model for each cow explained from 0·61 to 0·99 of the variation in faecal Cr concentration. Differences between suckling treatments in predicted faecal Cr content at discrete 2-h intervals over the 24-h period were not significant. Equations for heavier cows had lower constant terms, consistent with lower faecal Cr contents expected as a consequence of higher intakes. Differences in cow milk production and total calf live weight being reared were related to the pattern of Cr excretion (P < 0·05) but the reasons for these effects were not readily apparent. Mean Cr concentration in rectal samples was significantly correlated (r = 0·916) with mean 24-h faecal Cr content predicted from the model.